To be contemporary is to belong to or to occur in the present . If we consider this literally, even architectural design in historic neighborhoods must have been considered contemporary at a certain point in time. However, when architects are asked to design buildings within historic St.Louis neighborhoods today, we find even uttering the word “contemporary” casts a shadow of disdain on a project – regardless of how carefully many of it’s features follow the standards and respect the proportions of historic context. We find ourselves being asked to revert back to contemporary architecture of the late 1800s and early 20th century. Jessica Deem’s article in Next STL questions the requirements for trying to replicate architectural history in new construction. One of our projects is featured as a proposed work of contemporary architecture in the Benton Park Neighborhood in St.Louis and the article describes the process we went through to have the building approved.
As of the time of posting this article, the project was approved by the St.Louis Preservation Board, largely due to a number of neighborhood residents that came out in support of the project and of thriving, interesting, and growing neighborhoods in general. The approval was overturned at the next meeting of the Preservation Board, but we have resolved some of the issues with the neighborhood and are fairly confident that the design of the building will remain intact.